The Comedy of Errors

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Themes and Colors
Commerce and Exchange Theme Icon
Marriage and Family Theme Icon
Appearances and Identity Theme Icon
Mistakes and Coincidences Theme Icon
Scapegoats and Social Hierarchy Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Comedy of Errors, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Appearances and Identity Theme Icon

Practically all of the high-jinx and mistakes that drive the comedy and plot of The Comedy of Errors result from the confusion of the identities of Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus, and Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse. Each one is constantly mixed up with his twin because of his physical appearance, even though they act differently and insist on who they really are. The play thus shows the folly of making assumptions based on someone’s appearance. In the end, everyone’s true identity is revealed. This resolution, though, does not put an end to the play’s deeper questioning of identity. In particular, Shakespeare’s comedy prompts one to ask: where does identity come from? Is it something innate that we are born with and that is then recognized by other people? Or does the recognition of others actually help create our identity?

Each Antipholus and Dromio has a “true” identity with which they are born that determines their life to some degree. However, characters’ identities are also partially formed by how other people treat them. Antipholus of Syracuse in some sense becomes Antipholus of Ephesus for a small period of time, because he is treated as such. Moreover, it is only when characters’ true identities are recognized by others that they truly become themselves. Aemilia declares herself to be Aegeon’s wife, and Aegeon declares Antipholus of Ephesus to be his son, but it is only when Aegeon recognizes Aemilia and Antipholus recognizes his father that these identities are completely fulfilled. Moreover, what people do can also help define who they are. The merchant and courtesan remain unnamed in the play, known only by their occupations. Similarly, Aemilia is only known as the abbess for much of her time on stage. Thus, identity in the play is a curious and complicated mix of innate qualities, where one is from (the two pairs of twins are only distinguished by their cities of origin), what one does, and how one is seen by other people.

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Appearances and Identity Quotes in The Comedy of Errors

Below you will find the important quotes in The Comedy of Errors related to the theme of Appearances and Identity.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

There had she not been long but she became
A joyful mother of two goodly sons;
And, which was strange, the one so like the other
As could not be distinguish’d but by names.
That very hour, and in the self-same inn,
A meaner woman was delivered
Of such a burden, male twins, both alike:
Those, for their parents were exceeding poor,
I bought, and brought up to attend my sons.

Related Characters: Aegeon (speaker)
Page Number: 1.1.49-57
Explanation and Analysis:

Though he plans to execute Aegeon, the Duke is curious about Aegeon's story and reason for being in Ephesus. Aegeon explains that he made a fortune as a merchant, and that when a business partner died, he and his wife traveled to Epidamnum. In this quote, Aegeon describes how soon after his wife's arrival in Epidamnum she gave birth to children: "two goodly sons." He remarks that it was "strange," since the two sons (twins) looked so alike each other that they could only be told apart by their names. By a miraculous coincidence, at the same time that his wife was giving birth, a poor ("meaner') woman gave birth to another set of male twins, also extremely identical. Since Aegeon was wealthy, he purchased and took on the poor set of twins to be servants to his own sons.

This pair of identical births is the basis for much of the confusion and the humor in the play. Almost every single character in the play mistakes one brother for his twin, and hilarity ensues. Family is extremely important to Aegeon, and this "strange" set of twins and serving twins sets the stage for the other problem of the play: the family split. Much of the work of the play and its plot will be to reunite the family after the split that Aegeon describes below.


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Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

Where is the gold I gave in charge to thee?

To me, sir? Why, you gave no gold to me.

Come on, sir knave, have done your foolishness,
And tell me how thou hast disposed thy charge.

My charge was but to fetch you from the mart
Home to your house, the Phoenix, sir, to dinner:
My mistress and her sister stays for you.

Now, as I am a Christian, answer me,
In what safe place you have bestow’d my money;
Or I shall break that merry sconce of yours,
That stands on tricks when I am undisposed:
Where is the thousand marks thou hadst of me?

Related Characters: Antipholus of Syracuse (speaker), Dromio of Ephesus (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Gold Necklace, Bail Money, and Diamond Ring
Page Number: 1.2.71-82
Explanation and Analysis:

Dromio of Ephesus has entered the stage immediately after Antipholus of Syracuse finished his soliloquy. Dromio of Ephesus mistakes this Antipholus for his master, Antipholus of Ephesus, and tells Antipholus of Syracuse that it's time to come home dinner. Antipholus of Syracuse is confused, thinking that the Dromio he is speaking with is Dromio of Syracuse, the servant he just sent to the Centaur Inn with money. Thus at the beginning of the quote, Antipholus asks the wrong Dromio where is the gold that he gave to his own Dromio. Dromio of Ephesus is confused, and responds as such, since Antipholus of Syracuse only gave money to Dromio of Syracuse. The two continue to mistake each other for their twins, one asking for his money, the other asking his master to come home for dinner.

This interaction is the first of many, many confusing scenes of mistaken identities. Note that the social hierarchy dominates the interaction. In the dialogue that follows the quote, Dromio puns on "marks," saying he has received physical marks from beatings as opposed to marks as currency. Throughout the play, both master Antipholuses beat their (and their twin's) Dromio. The masters constantly blame the servants for the misunderstandings, and this scene shows early on how the dynamic will work in the play.

Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

When I desired him to come home to dinner,
He ask’d me for a thousand marks in gold:
‘’Tis dinner-time,’ quoth I; ‘My gold!’ quoth he:
‘Your meat doth burn,’ quoth I; ‘My gold!’ quoth he:
‘Will you come home?’ quoth I; ‘My gold!’ quoth he,
‘Where is the thousand marks I gave thee, villain?’
‘The pig,’ quoth I, ‘is burn’d;’ ‘My gold!’ quoth he:
‘My mistress, sir,’ quoth I; “Hang up thy mistress!
I know not thy mistress; out on thy mistress!’

Related Characters: Dromio of Ephesus (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Gold Necklace, Bail Money, and Diamond Ring
Page Number: 2.1.62-72
Explanation and Analysis:

After Luciana and Adriana continue to argue about men, power, and marriage—with Luciana arguing that men are masters of nature and their wives—Dromio of Ephesus enters. Remember that Dromio of Ephesus was sent by Adriana to summon Antipholus of Ephesus, but Dromio accidentally called on Antiopholus of Syracuse. Here Dromio of Ephesus tells his mistress Adriana about the confusing interaction he had with the man they believe to be her husband. Dromio humorously stages a mini-dialogue, giving both his voice and the responses from Antipholus of Syracuse. Thus on stage we see the first case of mistaken identity played out for a second time.

Dromio's impersonation of Antipholus consists mainly of one line: "My gold!" This emphasizes commerce and Antipholus's demand for his money, which will be transferred around and demanded again and again throughout the play. Finally, Antipholus speaks out against Dromio's "mistress," giving the impression that he is claiming not to know his own wife. This strange behavior makes Adriana believe that Antipholus of Ephesus is cheating on her (outlined below) and shows a potential for another family split, echoing the original division of Aegeon's family.

Dromio reports that he was beaten and that Antipholus spoke only of his gold, but Adriana sends him out to fetch Antipholus again, and also probably to receive more beatings.

Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

Fie, brother! How the world is changed with you!
When were you wont to use my sister thus?
She sent for you by Dromio home to dinner.

By Dromio?

By me?

By thee; and this thou didst return from him,
That he did buffet thee, and, in his blows,
Denied my house for his, me for his wife.

Did you converse, sir, with this gentlewoman?
What is the course and drift of your compact?
I, Sir? I never saw her till this time.

Villain, thou liest; for even her very words
Didst thou deliver to me on the mart.

I never spake with her in all my life.

How can she thus, then, call us by our names,
Unless it be by inspiration.

Related Characters: Antipholus of Syracuse (speaker), Dromio of Syracuse (speaker), Adriana (speaker), Luciana (speaker)
Page Number: 2.2.163-178
Explanation and Analysis:

Antipholus of Syracuse and Dromio of Syracuse are extremely confused by Adriana's long tirade, and so Antipholus explains that he has just landed in Ephesus. Luciana begins the dialogue in the quote by commenting how changed Antipholus seems, continuing to confuse him for his twin, Antipholus of Ephesus. Luciana asks him why he is treating her sister this way, pretending he doesn't know her when Dromio was sent to bring Antipholus home for dinner. Thus the comedic response of Antipholus and Dromio in turn: "By Dromio?" "By me?"

Adriana confirms that she sent Dromio and that he returned from Antipholus having been beaten and denied. Dromio of Syracuse respond in confusion, since he has never before met Adriana, but Antipholus calls him a liar, having interacted with (beaten) Dromio of Ephesus. Antipholus concludes by asking how else could Adriana know Dromio's name, unless by divine inspiration or witchcraft. This scene continues the building sequence of coincidences and mistaken identities. Like with most of the issues, the servants (Dromios) take the blame for the miscommunications and problems. Antipholus of Syracuse is uncertain what to do and if he is dreaming or not, and he ultimately decides to follow Adriana and pretend to be her husband in order to find out more information.

Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

Are you, there, wife? You might have come before.

Your wife, sir knave! Go get you from the door.

Related Characters: Antipholus of Ephesus (speaker), Adriana (speaker)
Page Number: 3.1.96-97
Explanation and Analysis:

Antipholus of Syracuse is pretending to be Adriana's husband, and is inside the house. Dromio of Syracuse is guarding the door so that the family can enjoy dinner. Dromio of Ephesus has finally found the right Antipholus, and the two have finally come home for dinner. But when Dromio of Ephesus knocks on the door, Dromio of Syracuse denies him entrance from the other side. This marks the first time that twins have interacted on stage. The moment is filled with dramatic irony (meaning we know something the characters don't), since if they could only see each other during the scene they'd recognize that they were twins. When Dromio of Syracuse announces his name from behind the door, Dromio of Ephesus believes that his identity has been stolen.

In this quote, Antipholus of Ephesus calls up to his wife Adriana, asking if she's there and why she hasn't come before. But since Adriana believes her husband is inside, she dismisses Antipholus of Ephesus for a "knave" (a depraved or foolish person), and sends him away. Here, Adriana does exactly what she chided Antipholus of Syracuse for doing: denying to know her spouse. Antipholus of Ephesus responds violently, wanting to break down the door, but is advised not to. Much of the drama and humor of this scene is derived from how close the twins get to meeting without actually recognizing each other. As the play continues, the delay of such a recognition becomes more and more absurd.

Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

Are you a god? Would you create me new?
Transform me, then, and to your power I’ll yield.
But if that I am I, then well I know
Your weeping sister is no wife of mine,
Nor to her bed no homage do I owe:
Far more, far more to you do I decline.
O, train me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note,
To drown me in thy sister flood of tears:
Sing, siren, for thyself, and I will dote.

Related Characters: Antipholus of Syracuse (speaker)
Page Number: 3.2.40-49
Explanation and Analysis:

Antipholus of Syracuse begins by asking Luciana if she is a god with the power to transform him. He uses this dramatic language to convey the impossibility and the emotional weight of her suggestion that he pretend to be someone he isn't. He continues by saying that if it is the case that he is himself (if that I am I), then he is certain that Adriana is not his wife. Here Antipholus uses rhetorical language (if / then statements) common in love poetry, to turn his focus from Luciana's suggestion to his own courtship of her and the beginning of a new argument. He continues, saying that he owes nothing to Adriana, and in fact is "far more, far more" interested in Luciana herself. Calling her a mermaid and a siren, he asks her to make her own case rather than telling him to love Adriana.

This comedic moment seems absurd and wrong to Luciana, who still believes that Antipholus of Syracuse is the Antipholus of Ephesus that is married to her sister. The courtship of Luciana seems natural, as Shakespearean comedies produce as many marriages as possible—but though Luciana has expressed the opinion that wives should be subservient, she has also expressed a hesitancy to get married. The end of the play will imply that Antipholus of Syracuse will marry Luciana, but we do not see the marriage take place on stage and are not certain that it will occur.

Why, how now, Dromio! Where runn’st thou so fast?

Do you know me, sir? Am I Dromio? Am I your man? Am I myself?

Thou art Dromio, thou art my man, thou art thyself.

I am an ass, I am a woman’s man, and besides myself.

What woman’s man? And how besides thyself?

Marry, sir, besides myself, I am due to a woman; one that claims me, one that haunts me, one that will have me.

Related Characters: Antipholus of Syracuse (speaker), Dromio of Syracuse (speaker)
Page Number: 3.2.77-89
Explanation and Analysis:

Upset by Antipholus of Syracuse's sudden declaration of love, Luciana has run to get her sister. As she exits, Dromio of Syracuse runs onto the stage. Antipholus stops him and asks where he's running so quickly. Here Dromio responds with the comedic line that also speaks to the eerie feeling of being out of place: "Am I Dromio? Am I your man? Am I myself?" He is so confused by the way others are treating him that he begins to question if he really is himself. Antipholus assures him that he is himself, before Dromio claims to be an "ass" and a "woman's man." Dromio proceeds to describe an interaction with the kitchen woman named Nell, whom Dromio of Ephesus is engaged to. Nell mistook Dromio of Syracuse for her fiancee, instigating the strange, self-questioning hysteria in Dromio of Syracuse. He goes on describes Nell as extremely fat, making an elaborate joke that she is the size of a globe, naming different parts of her body with countries around the world (also note the pun on Shakespeare's theatre, named the Globe). This scene is played for comedy, but it also causes Antipholus to believe that there are "none but witches" in Ephesus, using magic and witchcraft to explain what are actually a series of coincidences and human errors. He decides to leave Ephesus as soon as possible, and sends Dromio to find out when the soonest departing ship leaves.

Master Antipholus,—

Ay, that’s my name.

I know it well, sir:—lo, here is the chain.
I thought to have ta’en you at the Porpentine:
The chain unfinish’d made me stay thus long.

What is your will that I shall do with this?

What please yourself, sir: I have made it for you.

Made it for me, sir! I bespoke it not.

Related Characters: Antipholus of Syracuse (speaker), Angelo (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Gold Necklace, Bail Money, and Diamond Ring
Page Number: 3.2.182-189
Explanation and Analysis:

After Dromio leaves to find out when the next ship leaves, Angelo enters with the golden necklace that Antipholus of Ephesus promised Adriana. Angelo confuses Antipholus of Syracuse for his twin, and gives the chain to the wrong person. Antipholus denies requesting the chain, but eventually accepts it, confused by the interaction. This exchange begins the series of botched exchanges and trades with the wrong people that will continue throughout the play. Soon Antipholus of Ephesus will deny having received the necklace, since he truly has not, and frustration will build. This series of commercial mistakes will also involve a Merchant, who demands payment from Angelo. Angelo will demand money for the chain, but struggle to receive it having given it to the wrong person.

Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

I answer you! What should I answer you?

The money that you owe me for the chain.

I owe you none till I receive the chain.

You know I gave it you half an hour since.

You gave me none: you wrong me much to say so.

You wrong me more, sir, in denying it:
Consider how it stands upon my credit.

Well, officer, arrest him at my suit.

Related Characters: Antipholus of Ephesus (speaker), Angelo (speaker), Merchant (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Gold Necklace, Bail Money, and Diamond Ring
Page Number: 4.1.62-69
Explanation and Analysis:

This scene begins with Angelo and a Merchant discussing the money that one owes the other. Angelo explains that he will pay the Merchant as soon as he receives payment for the Gold Necklace. When Antipholus of Ephesus enters, Angelo gives him the bill for the chain, saying he needs the money immediately so that he can pay the Merchant. Antipholus says that his money at home, and invites Angelo to come deliver the chain and receive payment there. This offer confuses Angelo, since he has already given the chain to Antipholus of Syracuse. The two men become confused and irate, leading up to the dialogue in the quote.

Angelo demands the money, but Antipholus of Ephesus demands the chain, denying that he ever received it. They both claim to be wronged by the other, and eventually the Merchant, wanting his money, intervenes by having an Officer arrest Antipholus. This commercial debate is ridiculous given the confusion of both parties, making the arrest of Antipholus of Ephesus one of the most comedic errors of the play.

What ship of Epidamnum stays for me?

A ship you sent me to, to hire waftage.

Thou drunken slave, I sent thee for a rope,
And told thee to what purpose and what end.

You sent me for a rope’s end as soon:
You sent me to the bay, sir, for a bark.

I will debate this matter at more leisure,
And teach your ears to list me with more heed.
To Adriana, villain, hie thee straight:
Give her this key, and tell her, in the desk
That’s cover’d o’er with Turkish tapestry
There is a purse of ducats; let her send it:
Tell her I am arrested in the street,
And that shall bail me: hie thee, slave, be gone!

Related Characters: Antipholus of Ephesus (speaker), Dromio of Syracuse (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Gold Necklace, Bail Money, and Diamond Ring
Page Number: 4.1.96-109
Explanation and Analysis:

As Antipholus of Ephesus is being arrested, Dromio of Syracuse returns with news about departing ships. He tells Antipholus, whom he mistakes for his master, that there is a ship of Epidamnum waiting in the harbor. Antipholus begins the dialogue in the quote by asking, confusedly, what ship is waiting for him. Dromio responds that it's the ship that he was sent to hire. But Antipholus of Ephesus has sent Dromio of Ephesus to buy a rope, and of course makes the servant the scapegoat for the error, blaming Dromio of Syracuse and yelling at him. He threatens his servant, implying that he will beat him until he knows how to listen better, than orders Dromio to go back to Adriana and get bail money from a desk. Thus another financial object, this time money itself, is interjected into the system of mistaken exchanges and errors.

Act 4, Scene 3 Quotes

Thou art, as you are all, a sorceress:
I conjure thee to leave me and be gone.

Give me the ring of mine you had at dinner,
Or, for my diamond, the chain you promised,
And I’ll be gone, sir, and not trouble you.

Related Characters: Antipholus of Syracuse (speaker), Courtesan (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Gold Necklace, Bail Money, and Diamond Ring
Page Number: 4.3.68-72
Explanation and Analysis:

Antipholus of Syracuse is convinced that devils, sorcerers, and witches inhabit Ephesus and are the cause of all of the confusion. A Courtesan enters the stage and calls Antipholus by name, causing him to shout at her and call her Satan. The Courtesan requests of Antipholus the chain, which he has, in exchange for a diamond ring. Apparently, Antipholus of Ephesus purchased the gold necklace with the intention of trading it with the Courtesan for the diamond ring. The exchanges have all gotten mixed up due to the countless errors and mistakes, so the Courtesan believes that Antipholus has stolen her ring. This detail is especially confusing, as Adriana mentioned that she was promised a chain, not a ring. After Antipholus and Dromio leave, the Courtesan concludes that they are insane, and goes to tell Adriana that her husband has stolen the ring.

Act 4, Scene 4 Quotes

Alas, I sent you money to redeem you,
By Dromio here, who came in haste for it.

Money by me! Heart and good-will you might;
But surely, master, not a rag of money.

Went’st not thou to her for a purse of ducats?

He came to me, and I deliver’d it.

And I am witness with her that she did.

God and the rope-maker bear me witness
That I was sent for nothing but a rope!

Related Characters: Antipholus of Ephesus (speaker), Dromio of Ephesus (speaker), Adriana (speaker), Luciana (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Gold Necklace, Bail Money, and Diamond Ring
Page Number: 4.4.88-96
Explanation and Analysis:

Dromio of Ephesus returns to the arrested Antipholus of Ephesus with the rope that was requested for Adriana. However, since that command, Antipholus has told Dromio of Syracuse to get the bail money. Thus when Dromio of Ephesus shows up with only a rope, Antipholus is furious. Adriana and Luciana then enter, along with the Courtesan. They think that Antipholus is mad, and argue about if Antipholus and Adriana ate dinner together or not. Here, Adriana says that she sent bail money with Dromio. She has, of course, sent it with the other Dromio, so Dromio of Ephesus begins to look insane, too, since he claims only to have been sent for a rope. The confusion in this scene is especially knotted and humorous since Antipholus of Ephesus has given commands to both Dromios. Every character is confused, so the mistakes and false identities continue in their absurdities.

In this scene Adriana pays Antipholus's bail and decides to shut him and Dromio up inside, but moments after their exit, Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse enter the stage. At this sight, Adriana is convinced that Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus have escaped. Now, even people are exchanged as commodities, and of course the exchange of persons is also confounded and filled with error. Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse escape and get ready to leave Ephesus. 

Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

You have done wrong to this my honest friend;
Who, but for staying on our controversy,
Had hoisted sail and put to sea to-day:
This chain you had of me; can you deny it?

I think I had; I never did deny it.

Yes, that you did, sir, and forswore it too.

Who heard me to deny it or forswear it?

These ears of mine, thou know’st, did hear thee.

Related Characters: Antipholus of Syracuse (speaker), Angelo (speaker), Merchant (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Gold Necklace, Bail Money, and Diamond Ring
Page Number: 5.1.19-26
Explanation and Analysis:
As Angelo and the Merchant discuss their financial situation, Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse enter while Antipholus is wearing the gold necklace. Angelo and the Merchant ask why he denied receiving the chain if he is wearing it, mistaking him for Antipholus of Ephesus. Comedically, Antipholus doesn't deny receiving the chain, instead denying that he ever denied receiving it. The Merchant and Angelo claim to have heard Antipholus swear denial, which angers him. Honor is extremely important to Antipholus, and despite the humorous nature of the dozens of errors and coincidences, he is willing to duel to protect his word. Before a fight can begin, Adriana, Luciana, and the Courtesan enter and tell Angelo and the Merchant that Antipholus and Dromio are mad. The pair then flees to a nearby abbey.

I am sure you both of you remember me.

Ourselves we do remember, sir, by you;
For lately we were bound, as you are now.
You are not Pinch’s patient, are you, sir?

Why look you so strange on me? You know me well.

I never saw you in my life till now.

O, grief hath changed me since you saw me last,
And careful hours with time’s deformed hand
Have written strange defeatures in my face:
But tell me yet, dost thou not know my voice?


Dromio, nor thou?

No, trust me, sir, nor I.

I am sure thou dost.

Related Characters: Aegeon (speaker), Antipholus of Ephesus (speaker), Dromio of Ephesus (speaker)
Page Number: 5.1.300-314
Explanation and Analysis:

Most of the characters are on stage at this point near the end of the play; the Duke has been brought in to try and resolve the issue. Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus have escaped from Adriana's house, causing everyone to think that they have just escaped from the abbey. Aegeon has been brought on with the Duke in the last hope of coming up with payment to stop his execution, and he has spoken a brief aside indicating that he recognizes Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus, believing them to be his son and son's servant from Syracuse. Which, of course, they aren't.

But in all this confusion, Antipholus of Ephesus gains some clarity of his own: opposing the previous states of confusion and self-doubt, he says they do remember themselves and who they are, making a joke that they were just bound in Adriana's home as Aegeon is now imprisoned. When the sons continue to say they don't recognize him, Aegeon begins to believe that grief and time have changed him, textually writing new features on his face in the time since he has last seen Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse. He tries to appeal to another sense, asking if they remember his voice, but they still do not.

At this moment the tension and dramatic irony peak. Aegeon is looking for his long lost son, and has met him, but even now he confuses this lost son for the son he raised and has only been apart from for a few years. While every other character in the play has assumed that Antipholus of Ephesus is himself (other than Dromio of Syracuse), Aegeon mistakes him for Antipholus of Syracuse. Mistaken identity and errors cross even family lines, and the plots cannot be resolved until both pairs of twins are physically on the stage at the same time.

I see two husbands, or mine eyes deceive me.

One of these men is Genius to the other;
And so of these, which is the natural man,
And which the spirit? Who deciphers them?

Related Characters: Duke Solinus (speaker), Adriana (speaker)
Page Number: 5.1.342-345
Explanation and Analysis:

Finally, the Abbess Brings Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse onto stage, and both sets of twins are in the same place at once. After the Abbess's announcement, Adriana speaks this quote as the first line from the stunned crowd. She cannot tell if her eyes deceive her or not since, she is so confused by what she sees. Likewise, the Duke resorts to a supernatural explanation, suggesting that one image must be the real Antipholus and the other must be Antipholus's spirit ("Genius"). Note that his call to "decipher them" is an extremely textual image, calling attention to the deciphering that readers (and playgoers) must do in trying to keep track of all of the exchanges and errors.

With everyone on stage at once, the comedy can close; all it's problems are resolved. The Abbess reveals herself to be Aemilia, Aegeon's wife, and the entire family is reunited. As the mistaken identities are cleared up, the broken circuit of exchange is restored, and the gold necklace, bail money, and diamond ring all end up in the right places. Antipholus of Syracuse tells Luciana he is still interested in pursing her, and the Duke, so moved by the events, waives the 1000 mark fee and spares Aegeon's life. True identities are restored along with order, functioning commerce, and the original family whose split instigated the play.